President Donald Trump spoke at a military cemetery near Paris, a day after drawing sharp criticism for canceling a trip to a separate cemetery during centenary commemorations of the end of World War I.
Trump hailed the end of “one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history” in a speech Sunday at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial. He called out by name veterans of World War II who were in attendance, thanking them personally for their service.
Trump drew a wave of criticism yesterday for canceling his visit to the Belleau Wood cemetery and battlefield, as rainy weather across France prevented the planned helicopter trip to mark one of the deadliest battle sites of the war. U.S. Secret Service typically requires a good level of visibility to transport the president by helicopter, yet the president’s detractors and some in his own party seized on the cancellation to accuse Trump of lacking respect for fallen soldiers and the military.
Standing in a steady rain without an umbrella Sunday, Trump referred in his speech to Belleau Wood, and the U.S. Marines who “fought through hell to turn the tide of the war.” He read from a soldier’s letter, saying that “through their sacrifice, they ascended to peace in heaven.”
“It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago,” Trump said.
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SOURCE: TIME; Bloomberg, Shannon Pettypiece, Nick Wadhams and Justin Sink